Ascension : Church News
Submitted by The Islander (Islander Editors) 05.01.2012 (Article Archived on 19.01.2012)
Those with a scientific interest in star-gazing will find it fascinating to read thearticle by Bruce Gerig on the Star of Bethlehem
St. Mary’s Church
Ascension Island (Diocese of St.Helena)
From: FATHER CHRISTOPHER BROWN
Those with a scientific interest in star-gazing will find it fascinating to read the
article by Bruce Gerig on the Star of Bethlehem : “google” 17th.April 6B.C. -
Star of Bethlehem , to find his fascinating review of a subject which has kept
astronomers busy since Johannes Kepler observed a conjunction of Jupiter with saturn from his observatory in Prague at Christmas 1603.
We know from the Gospel of Matthew that Jesus was born in the reign of King Herod the Great,whose reign is well documented; we also know from the Gospel of Luke that Jesus was born in the Springtime of the year, during the lambing season, when shepherds were most likely to be out in the fields at night .What we don’t know is the actual day on which Jesus was born. The Bruce Gerig article suggests that modern -day astronomers may be able to shed light on this ancient line of enquiry.
The Christians of the ancient Orthodox Church celebrate Christ’s birth on Jan. 6 which we keep as the Festival of Epiphany when we remember how Christ was revealed to the Wise Men who followed the star. For those wondering why we celebrate the birth of Jesus on December 25th.,it goes back to the time when Europe was part of the vast Roman empire and in most countries people had great fun at the end of December, around the 23 –25, lighting huge fires and feasting to welcome and celebrate the return of the sun.
This festival of the dying and rising sun was known as “Saturnalia”. Then came a dramatic moment in the history of the Rome Empire, and in the history of Christianity: the Roman Emperor Constantine was converted to the Christian Faith ( 312 A.D.) . The Christian Faith became the official religion of the Roman Empire. The persecution of Christians ceased and the old festival of Saturnalia was given a new significance: it became the time for Christians to celebrate the birth of Jesus the Sun of Righteousness, the Saviour, the Prince of Peace.
This Sunday, the service
at St.Mary’s at 10-30a.m. will be led by Sue MacFall. Everyone welcome !